How to divide up a property during a Divorce
A survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics suggests approximately 42% of marriages unfortunately ends in a divorce. Nearly all who found themselves in this predicament say it is a very distressing experience. On top on the emotional turmoil dividing up the matrimonial assets it can be extremely challenging and demanding.
The legal frame work surrounding the portioning up of property and marital finances can make dividing assets a lengthy process; depending on how complicated the assets are involved.
To alleviate some of the headache that comes with this situation, we have outlined a few useful tips to take into consideration when you are looking to sort out your interests:
Sort out a monetary arrangement
Firstly, you and your ex-partner must decide how you would like to divide up your assets and money. Provided you can both agree on how you move forward, then you can usually avoid going to court. However, if you cannot agree, then it will be the court who decides what happens.
If you both can agree
If you and your ex-partner can mutually agree on how you are dividing your assets then the next steps will prove to be a lot simpler.
For example, many people going through a divorce will choose to appoint a registered ‘family mediator’. These mediators can guide and make a future plan that will work best for the both of you, without you having to attend a court. By remaining neutral they look at your finances, property, savings, shares and investments and suggest how you should separate these.
Tip: if you need further help with managing money, there are various free money and ‘divorce calculators’ available online to help to give you a clearer idea of how to adapt your finances (the calculators can help work out the money you have, what you owe and how you might consider allocating these assets and funds).
If you own your property it will be highly probable that it will be the most valuable shared asset and it will be the most debated asset between you.
If you both cannot agree, what to do next?
If you and your ex-partner are still indecisive and arguing over a resolution then, in the first instance, it is sensible for each of you to find a legal professional who can give advice. Without a resolution it will likely end up in a court, who will then decide on the fairest way to divide the assets.
However, if there are immediate decisions that you simply cannot agree on then you must request a court to make a ‘financial order’. Through this avenue you can apply for a key facility, such as regular maintenance payments for children, or a lump sum payment to be arranged.
Going to Court? – How assets are shared during a Divorce
A fact is, that not all asset division cases end up going through the courts. This is only a last resort when a couple divorcing cannot reach a decision about how to allocate everything they have owned together. Many married couples assume that everything with be split equally, but this isn’t necessarily the case. All divorces will be presented to the court and each partners’ solicitor will take into account the different factors when helping their client.
Looking at ‘Section 25’ factors
The elements taken into account during a divorce settlement are taken from section 25 of the ‘Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973.’ Since the year 2000 the overriding factor in family cases is fairness. From the courts point of view fairness comprises of the following three components: needs, compensation and sharing.
Section 25 considers all these sections in more depth, focusing on financial management during the marriage, pensions, financial needs, standard of living and the conduct of each partner.
Whilst Section 25 gives a template check list to the court it does not give an exact formula as to the outcome of a divorce. The court will consider each spouse’s stake against the stipulations of the needs, compensation and sharing.
During a divorce make sure to answer all of your solicitor’s questions in full (do not withhold relevant information, even if it means embarrassment). Give as much financial information about you and your ex-partner, details of any pensions, property details and dependent children. The courts will put the welfare of children above everything else.
Finally On Section 25
The judge will take into account all the Sector 25 factors, spouses ages, length of the marriage, earning capacity and the financial needs of each person. Usually, the judge will divide marriage assets based upon what is fair and reasonable. However, if the judge believes that there is a valid reason to divide the assets unequally, they have the discretion to do so.